Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dogs, Humans, Put Heads Together To Find Cure For Brain Cancer

Date:
July 8, 2009
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Pinpointing the genes involved in human brain cancer can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, and sometimes the needle you find may not be the right one.

Pinpointing the genes involved in human brain cancer can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, and sometimes the needle you find may not be the right one. By comparing human and canine genomes, researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that a gene commonly believed to be involved in meningiomas-tumors that affect the meninges, or thin covering, of the human brain and account for one out of four adult brain tumors -may not be as key for tumor formation as previously thought, and they've narrowed the search for the real culprit.

Meningiomas are intracranial tumors, meaning that they do not grow within brain tissue itself, but in the space between the brain and the skull. In humans, they are associated with genetic defects of large segments of chromosomes, which makes isolating the specific genes involved extremely difficult. Humans suffering from meningioma frequently lose one copy of almost the entire length of human chromosome 22. This chromosome is made of almost 50 million base pairs of DNA that code for more than 500 genes.

"The dog has been man's best friend for centuries, and now the genome of the dog could well be man's next best friend," says Dr. Matthew Breen, professor of genomics at NC State.

"With so much genetic material to consider, one can see why figuring out which genes play a key role in meningiomas is extremely difficult," says Breen. "By looking at tumors seen in both humans and dogs we have a simple way to narrow the search: we compare the affected areas of a human chromosome with related areas on dog chromosomes. This works because dogs and humans are genetically similar and both get the same kinds of cancers. While we share much of our genetic material, the DNA of a dog is organized differently to our own and this makes it possible to isolate smaller 'shared' regions of genetic data rather than looking at an entire chromosome."

Breen, NC State colleagues Rachael Thomas and veterinary neurologist Natasha Olby, along with researchers from the University of California-Davis and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK collaborated on the project, sharing samples of canine meningiomas for research. Their results were published in the Journal of Neurooncology.

Previous researchers had pinpointed a particular tumor-suppressing gene on human chromosome 22, known as NF2, as a possible contributor to meningioma. They believed that the deletion of NF2, with its tumor suppressing abilities, could trigger tumor growth.

In looking at genetic changes across the whole genome, Breen's team compared human chromosome 22 to its canine counterpart. In dogs, the region shared with 22 is "split up" across three separate dog chromosomes - numbers 10, 26 and 27- with the NF2 gene appearing on dog chromosome 26. The researchers discovered that in dogs with meningioma, chromosome 26, and hence NF2, was rarely affected, casting doubt on this gene as playing a significant role in the disease. Instead, dogs with meningioma frequently showed loss of parts of dog chromosome 27. This led the researchers to focus on the portion of human chromosome 22 that corresponds to canine chromosome 27.

"Now, instead of looking at 50 million base pairs that contain several hundred genes, we can focus on the portion of human chromosome 22 that is evolutionarily conserved with dog chromosome 27," Breen says. "By looking at dog and human meningiomas together we reduce the amount of searching we need to do 50-fold. It's the old needle/haystack dilemma, except that using information from dog and human tumors allows us to concentrate our search on the two percent of the haystack that actually contains the needle, and not spend time and resources on the other 98 percent."

Breen also noticed that the other chromosome involved for canines that suffer from meningioma is dog chromosome 17, which correlates with part of human chromosome 1. Defects of this chromosome are involved in almost 70 percent of human meningioma cases and are associated with a poor patient outcome. He hopes that he can use this correlation to further narrow the search for specific genes involved with the disease.

In addition the team looked also at gliomas, another kind of brain tumor, and have shown common genetic features shared between human and canine tumors that are now under further investigation.

"The data support that dog and human tumors are very similar at the genetic level, so both species will benefit from this research," Breen says. "It's proof of the 'One Medicine' concept - the idea that human and animal health relies on a common pool of medical and scientific knowledge and is supported by overlapping technologies and discoveries."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Dogs, Humans, Put Heads Together To Find Cure For Brain Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090706134058.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2009, July 8). Dogs, Humans, Put Heads Together To Find Cure For Brain Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090706134058.htm
North Carolina State University. "Dogs, Humans, Put Heads Together To Find Cure For Brain Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090706134058.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins